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Some basic guidelines

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#1 Martijn Meerts

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Posted 17 December 2016 - 06:21 PM

Hi guys and girls!


We have added some very basic guidelines over at http://www.jnsforum....rum-guidelines/


Please give them a quick read, mostly has to do with copyright of uploaded images. While it is unlikely we'll get into any sort of trouble, the fact is that we're running the new servers at Amazon's AWS, and Amazon is very quick to shut down servers and accounts when it comes to copyright. We're not saying people consistently upload copyrighted images, or do so on purpose, but it's just better to be safe than sorry.


We have also posted a new welcome message on the front page of the forum. The "happy new year" one was getting a bit old after 3 years or so :D


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#2 JR 500系

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Posted 17 December 2016 - 10:20 PM

Thanks Martijn! I'm thinking would links to the sites be allowed; i.e. pasting the external site links?


#3 cteno4

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Posted 18 December 2016 - 09:00 AM


Thanks Martijn! I'm thinking would links to the sites be allowed; i.e. pasting the external site links?

Yes! This is very much encouraged! We want the forum to have as much info links as possible to other content that can't be copied here due to copyright issues! By linking to a page with a photo or text to be referenced it allows folks to view all the info on that other page (i.e. Source, other links and info, credit, etc) than the image being copied by itself to the forum.

It's just when images are copied onto the forum, we have no way of knowing if the owner has allowed such reuse of their image pubically like this (it's not the same as copying an image to your own hard drive for personal use and it's not under educational use here). Embedding the image (unless it's from a site like Flickr or YouTube that specifically allows embedding of their content in other sites) has the same issue plus we are scamming the images serving off then other server for use on this forum (when an image is embedded in the forum every time someone looks at it on the forum the originating server is the one serving, and paying for that, image presentation) -- again not fair to the originator unless they specifically say that's cool).

This is why we just wanted to get some clearer lines on content use as we can't get tied up in determining rights, credits, etc on everything. Also we want to be fair to the content creators out there and provide forum members with as much info around anything as possible.


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#4 cteno4

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Posted 18 December 2016 - 06:24 PM

The question has come up what to do when there are a lot of pictures on a page and you want to refer to just one of them.

There is an easy solution that works great within the guidelines.

Just paste in the link to the particular image (you can copy this rules this with a right selection on the photo in most browsers) and paste it into your post (as just a text link not as HTML embed). Then in e next line of your post you can just put something like "from:" and the url of the page it was on. This way folks can see the particular photo(s) you want to make comments on/refer to and also give credit to the originating site and allow folks to easily explore it if they get curious!

Here's an example:


from MicroAce website here: http://microace-arii...oster/2016.html

If in doubt or have questions just ask here or pm a moderator (densha and myself) and happy to discuss and figure out a solution!


Edited by cteno4, 18 December 2016 - 08:07 PM.

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#5 katoftw

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Posted 19 December 2016 - 03:06 PM

I think this is an overkill kneejerk reaction to nothing and I think this move will kill the forum in time.


I have had a lengthy discussion already with Jeff about this issue.  Just about every picture we have used giving product info or highlighting product releases is now unusable.  I don't use the forum to click links upon links or text only.  I visually see with my eyes, then start clicking if what I see interest me.


Even taking your own photo of copyrighted material and posting up the photo is a breach of copyright laws in most countires.  As most companies don't allow any reproductions (like a photo) of their material.  Normally this is moreso to do with monitory gain from someone elses' hard work.  Which I don't think is the aim of anyone here using or posting copyrighted material/s.  Which is why I think is it a overkilled kneejerk reaction.


A company under most copyright laws worldwide has the right to ask someone to remove their copyrighted material if they ask.  Has the forum/community had any instantences of this happening?  And if not, was an instantence about to occur that precluded the admin team making this ill conceived decision?

Edited by katoftw, 19 December 2016 - 03:35 PM.

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#6 kvp

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Posted 20 December 2016 - 12:53 PM

I would like to ask about wikipedia content. I usually embed the image and link the page, but is this allowed?

Also what about uploading images that are not available online and no copyright information is available? (no source or the source claims no copyright)

Third question is youtube as some videos are not available everywhers as embedded, but the software keeps changing intentional external links to embeds that don't work for many people.

#7 splifdfx

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Posted 20 December 2016 - 03:02 PM

I have to second Katoftw here.


Even if I understand the greater good that these guidelines want to achieve, I think this is completely going against what the internet is about and how it works today in practice.

It's even going against the global movement that makes our society more and more a visual based one where everyone wants to share stuff (mostly pictures).
Forcing people to click on links to view pictures is a pain in the ass and demotivational.


For example, sites like Pinterest, Tumblr and such are based on pictures being cut & pasted from everywhere and don't seem close to be shutted down.
I don't think a fandom-niche-forum like this one shouldn't worry about getting a shitstorm from some kind of lawyer about a few pictures being linked/pasted/hosted. For the worst, they'd only ask to delete the incriminated pictures or posts.
I mean, it's *just* a forum, that doesn't even has advertings banners or adsense, and is even less a click-bait site to make money with ads...

I'd be really interested to see statistics and examples of sites/accounts being shut down by amazon for such "trivial" things.


Now I understand that the admins might be angsty about these things and that they mostly pay for the hosting and thus our enjoyment, and I'm grateful for that.
But then we might want to address that issue by some kind of crowdfunding and moving the server to another hosting platform which would be less nazi-prompt, even at the cost of a slightly longer loading time of the pages or such.


Anyway, I'd be interested to hear more about this issue from the admins. Let us know if bad stuff is happening in the shadows !


PS : By the way, aren't most of our avatars perfect examples of copyright infringement ?! Perhaps we should disable this feature too ? I mean, Martin's JR logo is probably a trademark and Cteno4's Astroboy is surely not a character that he himself invented !  :angel5:

Edited by splifdfx, 20 December 2016 - 03:04 PM.

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#8 cteno4

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Posted 20 December 2016 - 03:21 PM

It's not just about making money but publicly using someone else's content even with out money involved. This is not allowed or in very vague territory under most copyright laws and what is going on here. Fair use laws vary and are very unclear as to where something is ok to impede on someone's copyright for the common good, thus simpler to just not copy or embed them directly on the forum. People dont need to put a copyright on an image to claim the copyright, its the user's responsibility to clear the rights, not the owners to label their content. Also the images are usually posted with out any links to the source so no credit or path to learn more on the site it was on. We are now on Amazon servers and they are known for turning things off with a complaint, so there is a risk, how big of one we really don't know. It's the combination of the above that made the decision to stop having copyrighted material copied or embedded on the forum (except embedding from services that precise that option like YouTube.) many forums have the same rules so this is not unique.

The images can just be linked, one click and it's up. We just don't want them on the forum if the poster does not own the copyright. 


The problem with wiki images is their copyright can be of several sorts and different restrictions by country etc. even commons images may have different use or citing restrictions. we just dont want to get into policing all this. again simple links to it from a post gets there in a click.


Also with non online photos that are not yours we just dont want to get into determining if someone cares or not if their photos are used like this. If the embeds dont work for youtubes then the one posted the youtube may or may be restricted. if you use the short youtube link on the youtube page for a video the forum software wont embed it and it will just link to the youtube page.


Other sites like social media have their lawyers and their own ethics (usually pushed far to make money) to guide them on what they want to do and risk. Ive been around this tree so many times with lawyers on projects and ive gotten the spectrum of responses based on what they think they can win, not what is clear by the law (its very vague here) or by any ethics in the matter.


Avitars are a good point and one we were wondering how far to push this. In my Astroboy aviatar is legal as i took a picture of the physical public space sculpture in Kyoto station from public land. This is legally my image now, just like taking a picture of a building or train or car. If i were trying to use it commercially as anything representing the material of astroboy it might be battled in court, but it is not. It is a slippery slope and I will probably take it down to just not push the line here.


We have not had anyone come after us. This came from the discussion of the ethics of having folks post others content here that they do not have rights to. The potential issue with a complaint was just that potential, we have no idea how likely, but the move to amazon servers did bring up the point they are much more inclined to just turn off the account until things are cleared up.

We realize this has been not dealt with for a long time but it's been under discussion for a long time and the only way to handle it is to just say no to any images on the forum directly (copied or embedded) that are your own photos you have taken. We thought maybe allow a few exceptions now and then (like posting a pict of a bit of an instruction sheet or diagram that is from a product and folks are trying to figure something out) but from Katofw reaction that may not be possible. We thought of asking manufacturers if we could repost thier product sheets, but really did not want to get into the rights clearance business. Some companies like to control where product sheets are made public.

There is not an easy answer here other than allow it to go on. I do multimedia production as a profession and am very visual and would love to have all the pictures directly on the forum, but there are ethical and practical reasons stated above against that.


We just need a simple and clear rule here to make this happen, trying to do exceptions and situations is going to be a huge mess and just upset some that some may get an exception but they dont. We dont want this to get into everyone's own interpretation of what is kosher and what is not, so thus a very simple rule. granted it cuts back on images in the forum but its not for no reason or no thought on the matter.


The forum is a very fluid place and the admin team usually the main constant is the one shouldering the upkeep and maintenance on all this and why we usually make the decisions for it as its not something well done as a democracy and most forums rarely are democracies. Cool to not like it, just the way this place is (and most are) and we have kept this one going longer than many do and for the most part on pretty friendly terms and folks have like that.





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#9 katoftw

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Posted 20 December 2016 - 03:46 PM

I have not come across another forum/community that has similar strict rules.  Please don't take us for fools.  That is so disrespectful.


Lets use Katos/Tomixs/Microaces advertising material they release almost monthly.  This is promo material used to promote the sales of there products.  Do you really think that those companies are gonna complain when one of us embeds them into this forum to let everyone know of future releases?  "Dear Mr JNS/Amazon, it has come to our attention that you have be using our promo material within your community.  Please remove all promo material for your community.  It is effecting our sales in a positive way.  You have 14 days to comply before legal action may be taken." haha


You understand that even all the boxes our trains come in are copyrighted material and we cannot reproduce them in any form.  ie- cannot even take a photo of the box and put it in the "what did you order/reeive in the post" thread?  If you are following the copyright laws down to the letter of the law.


It is up to you to decide how you want in implement this over-the-top guidelines.  And how you wanna administer the over-the-topguidelines.  But a- don't pretend there is a huge issue. b- don't take people for idiots. c- don't start posting heaps of new crap threads with links upon links in a attempt to make the whole situation normal.  Cos it is not.  I don't wanna see link only to 15 year old products that have been out of stock for a decade.


I agree that photos of magazine pages is wrong.  I have even done it myself.  But I only take a few, and normally not many in a numerical row, just to show examples.  But there is a huge difference between using a small number of images for examples compared to a large number of images to bypass buying said copyrighted material.


This final part is what you should be aiming at stopping.  Not a full blanket ban on everything.

Edited by katoftw, 20 December 2016 - 04:00 PM.

#10 cteno4

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Posted 20 December 2016 - 06:13 PM

Our intent was mainly to just be fair to others copyrights in not copying their content to this forum. This primarily is in photo use and also doing so without any credit or reference (not part of copyright but just basic respect for those that made the content if it is going to be used elsewhere). Knowing who is cool we use their stuff here and who is not is an extremely hard thing to do and open to individual interpretation. so hence the simple rule use only your own stuff or things that have obvious clearance like youtube, etc.


Linking to a photo is the same effectively as embedding or copying it. you just have to click on the link. yes if the file goes poof on the other end then it will not be available, but thats their file to do what they see fit to do. 


It was secondary to do this for our protection legally with amazon. its a very slight risk but is there and indeterminable if we would get hit or not.


Product sheets are most likely fine and good, but some companies do try to control where they are publicly presented. we just did not want to get into trying to find out if it was ok with the manufacturers.


Taking a picture of a product in its box is fine to post as its your own picture of the product and covered well by fair use here. you are not making a picture that is an exact duplicate to reproduce their copyrighted materials and it is being used for comment. we are not taking things to that extreme, you are. 


Believe me we are not doing this to be control freaks and why its been so long in happening. Its the ethical issues of folks using others' materials here on the forum was building and trying to constantly play solomon with a loose set of rules just ends up a lot of work for the admins and folks getting upset as well because someone got to do something and they did not...


Please be polite and keep things civil in your discussion here. The main reasons we did the guidelines were to clearly state we would like folks to keep polite in interactions here even when they disagree. We welcome the discussion and want to make this the best place we can. 


If anyone would like to discuss this off forum as well and not publicly please feel free to contact the admins via pm. 



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#11 katoftw

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Posted 20 December 2016 - 07:43 PM

Was there permission from Bandai for you to reproduce their artwork Bill?  If not Amazon will close this community down quick smart.

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#12 Suica


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Posted 20 December 2016 - 07:53 PM

Was there permission from Bandai for you to reproduce their artwork Bill?  If not Amazon will close this community down quick smart.


Look, while I understand your criticism and even partly agree with you, why not keep the discussion in the appropriate threat?

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#13 medusa

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Posted 21 December 2016 - 12:52 AM

I know from a former job copyright infringement sues can become quite annoying. I back all of you which are especially careful about that.


Sometimes not just a photo might be copyrighted but the stuff it depicts. Means, you take your own camera, take your own photo of some item. Seems all fine huh? No, you still might not be allowed to publish you photo since the depicted item's shape, design etc. may be proctected as intellectual property by someone else.

For example, it's the case for the miniatures sold by Games Workshop. Any W40k player should know that... posting photos of figures or model kit made by them, legally bought, glued together and painted by you, nevertheless needs some written hint the shape of of figure/model on the photo is property of GW. They are really serious about that.


But same like here, go to any W40k forum in the web and you'll find endless discussion about that topic...

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#14 cteno4

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Posted 21 December 2016 - 10:14 AM

We are drawing our line here that taking a photo of something you have purchases is ok, either in or out of the box. What is not allowed is a high detailed image of just parts of the box art or instructions.

If someone has an issue with any content posted they think is outside the guidelines or you have a question about something you want to post, please pm an an admin, do not try to comment on it in the thread. If you want to discuss the guidelines do it on this thread or pm an admin if you don't want to do it pubically.


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#15 Sascha

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Posted 21 December 2016 - 03:09 PM

So what about Avatars? I see you have changed yours.

#16 westfalen

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Posted 21 December 2016 - 09:47 PM

I have no problems with restricting the posting of images as I have very, very rarely posted photos that were not taken by myself on JNS or Facebook or any other forum I am on. I just personally think it's bad manners for want of a better term to post a photo you didn't take yourself.  I always post a link, or if it's a photo in a book I give the name of the book.


What I hope doesn't happen is that we have to stop mentioning or discussing manufacturers or hobby shops in case we upset them.  I have left one major model railroad forum because any mention of dealers, other than the forum's advertisers about whom you can praise to your heart's content, is banned, indeed if you persist even typing the initials of America's largest online dealer you face banishment yourself.


I just noticed the cap I am wearing in my avatar has the old Queensland Railways logo on it but I think their legal and PR departments have their hands full at the moment. :) 

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#17 cteno4

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Posted 21 December 2016 - 10:07 PM


Our intentions are as you outlined to not be posting others's images here, we do not want to restrict the discussion of any manufacturers or dealers. This forum was formed in part to do exactly that to allow discussion of dealers and such that was limited on other forums (mainly due to some online firefights not advertising). All we were intending is to have folks use links to others's content, not embed it or copy it to the forum.

We were not intending to prevent folks from using their own photos which may have a small amount of copyrighted material in it like you mention as with most fair use it is probably fine and chances very slim it will be an issue.

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#18 velotrain

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Posted 22 December 2016 - 01:44 AM

While I understand the basic intent of the moderators, I'm not at all certain that the result is necessary or effective.


Jeff wrote, " Also the images are usually posted with out any links to the source so no credit or path to learn more on the site it was on."  Google Image Search provides a simple solution to this.  In fact, it will generally provide a path to the true original source of the image, for those seeking info about it.


Martijn writes, " please just provide links to the original web page the image or video is on in order to give credit to the creator."  However, in practice, folks will simply provide a link to where they found the image and, given the nature of the web, there's a very good chance that won't be the "original" page it was posted on.


My own perception is that most images are copyrighted so that they will not be used in any sort of commercial manner, including advertising or any sort of promotion.  Jeff also wrote, "and it's not under educational use here", but I suspect many/most of us would disagree with that.  Admittedly it isn't traditional classroom education, but online education has an ever-increasing share of the market.  Virtually every image posted here is done so with the intent to inform, if not strictly educate.


In the US, the "fair use doctrine does not clearly define fair use, but instead gives four non-exclusive factors to consider in a fair use analysis. Those factors are:

  1. the purpose and character of one's use
  2. the nature of the copyrighted work
  3. what amount and proportion of the whole work was taken, and
  4. the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work."

I think we can agree that the images posted here have virtually - if not absolutely - any impact on their "potential market".  As for Europe:


"The copyright directive allows EU member states to implement a set of exceptions to copyright. Examples of those exceptions are:

  • for demonstration or repair of equipment,
  • for non-commercial research or private study"

It could be argued that most of the posting of images of product instruction / assembly sheets fits under the first category, and most other images are covered under the second.


There have been comments that the fair use laws/policies vary around the world.  That may be, but to me the central issue is that we are not making any commercial use of the images.


Like Kato, and I suspect many of us, I am a very visual person.  He said, " I don't use the forum to click links upon links or text only.  I visually see with my eyes, then start clicking if what I see interest me."  As splifdfx added, "Forcing people to click on links to view pictures is a pain in the ass and demotivational."  I don't think this policy will cause the death of the forum, but it will probably greatly diminish contributions, visits, and certainly the functionality/interest/benefit of it.


I would say that a goodly portion of the images I have posted were captured for my own use and not intended to be used here.  I will generally just save images, and not even go to the page it came from.  I would see it as a major imposition to need to capture a link for every photo that I save, largely as it seems cumbersome.  I'm not about to bookmark every site that I copy an image from, and even then I would need some system to connect the photo back to that link.  I'm unwilling to create some text document just to link the two together.


Two of the moderators seem to have strong ethical concerns about posting the images of others here, even if a link is provided.  To me one of the most alarming aspects of this is that it is being policed not of the basis of something being copyrighted, but on the mere possibility that it could be!  And here I thought the Inquisition ended over half a millennium ago.   


Much of this is being done on the basis that the person who took the photo or created the graphic would object to how it is being used here, and I just don't see the case for that position.  The manufactures want their promotional material to be seen by the most people possible - that's why they create it in the first place!  Railfan photographers are generally likewise happy to have people see their work - that's why they post it online in the first place.  Those who want it to always be known whose image it is will include their name on it.


Specific offending cases have been mentioned, such as copying entire articles from magazines, etc.  I think something like that could be more suitably handled in a PM, as not everyone will be interested in seeing it anyway.  I think it would make much more sense to try to come up with a specific, commonly-agreed upon set of situations that shouldn't be allowed, instead of this repressive blanket policy.  As has been stated above, this is contrary to the very nature of the net, and possibly unique among all forums.


Ethical concerns aside, this seems absurdly premature and CYA in nature.  As has been noted, sites such as Pinterest and Tumblr solely exist to recycle other people's images, with no apparent problems.  It seems highly unlikely that JNS would be in a position that Amazon feels compelled to take the site down.  It's not like the moderators are going to be jailed for an offensive photograph.  I suspect the majority of us would be happy to risk the site possibly not being available for 24 hours to end this needless foolishness.


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#19 Gordon Werner

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Posted 16 January 2017 - 06:06 PM

what about posting from twitter? twitter allows for embedding tweets in other places like forums like this ... so I cannot see why that would not be allowed

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#20 cteno4

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Posted 16 January 2017 - 07:19 PM

It is fine to link to the Twitter image or use try to see if their tweet embed code will work on the forum software, but please don't copy the image over to the forum (via gallery or attachment to the post). Twitter wants you to use their embed code if you go that route to get the link potential back to Twitter and full credits to them and the poster.

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